Head Replacement Procedure - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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Old 05-12-2015
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Concord, NC
Posts: 2
Head Replacement Procedure

Two weeks ago I purchased a 2002 XLT 3.0L. I sit here kicking myself for not having done my homework before buying it. I have a misfire on cylinder 6, rough idle etc. Replaced plug wires, plugs look good, see good spark. Started to do a compression test but had problems with the hose on the test tool popping out when cranking. Best I got out of cylinder 6 was 30lbs. I think I am experiencing the bad valve seat issue. I am contemplating attempting the tear down and re-assembly myself providing I can find clear concise procedures. Can anyone recommend the Haynes or Chilton manuals for providing really good instructions? Or should I look into a Ford manual? Also, should I even attempt it? I have only down general maintenance tasks, never took an engine apart let alone put one back together. Any big sanfu's? Is it generally possible to get all bolts off without using a torch? How many hours does it typically take to get to the point of removing the heads? Other than renting a torque wrench, any other special tools?

Thank you.
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Old 05-13-2015
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Vancouver, BC
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No, outside of a torque wrench just a set of metric sockets and wrenches is needed.
Oops, you will also need a fuel line tool, which is not expensive, to disconnect fuel line from engine, but you can also use it to change fuel filter if the need arises, and a fan clutch tool to remove fan from water pump.

Yes on the exhaust bolts, they can be a PITA if stuck.
I take a vehicle to my local muffler shop and tell them what I will be doing, changing heads, and they will remove all the bolts and nuts, replace any that break or get striped heads and then reinstall them "snug" not tight, so I can remove them at home/shop.
$60 usually, they have all the tools and tricks and do it every day, so what might take me 5 hours and $50 in eze-outs, drill bits and trips to parts store takes them an hour, lol

Call a local machine shop and tell them the year and engine model to see if your heads can be repaired, some can not so you need to get new heads.
Machine shops can often get a better price on heads than you can get online when you add shipping, heads are heavy.

You need a 2002 3.0l RANGER head gasket set, not 3.0l Taurus, same engine different design for head gasket.
It will come with a set of new valve guide seals, machine shop can install those for you if the heads can be rebuilt, this will save you from needing a valve spring compressor.
You need a new set of Head Bolts, old ones can not be reused.
You will want a new thermostat, new water pump is your choice, it is easy to change now, so.............

Look at your VIN number, 8th digit is the Engine Code
U is gas only 3.0l
V is Flex Fuel 3.0l
I believe it's the same head in '02 but "they" may ask.

Haynes would probably be more Ranger specific.
Only things you really need are the torque amounts and pattern for the intake and heads.
The Cam synchronizer, in the old distributor hole, also needs to be timed, like a distributor did, plenty of info out there on how to set that up

take lots of pictures when removing wiring harness, it is pretty straight forward where everything goes when putting it back on but................picture is worth a thousand words.
keep bolts and nuts with the parts that held them on.
Push rods should be put back in the same way and in the same lifter that they came out of, I use a piece of cardboard with holes for up/down and 1-3, 4-6

A/C and power steer lines don't need to be disconnected.

It will be a few days between tear down and rebuild unless you are just going to buy new heads without checking old ones.
Allow 10 hours tear down for the first time, hopefully there is no second time.
2 or 3 days for machine shop
And 8 hours for rebuild.

Without a good compression test it would be hard to say it is a valve seat issue, could be bad fuel injector.

Last edited by RonD; 05-13-2015 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 05-13-2015
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Concord, NC
Posts: 2
Thank you. That is some really good advice and info on the tools, thanks for taking the time to reply. I especially like the taking the truck to a local muffler shop. I hope if it comes down to it I my local Meineke shop will oblige me. Sure worth a few bucks. I did call a local engine building/machine shop. If they can rebuild it will be far cheaper than buying re-manufactured heads. Before I do anything else I am going to get someone that can properly diagnose it have a look at it. Thanks again.
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